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Locker Confrontations

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He's coming. I see him approaching, but don't make a move. It's one of those things that you see coming full speed toward you and choose to ignore, praying that maybe it'll change it's course just before it hits you. But here he is.

I hurry. I hurry while trying to make hurrying look unnoticeable, an utterly impossible feat. That stupid, purple swathed text book slips from my hand, tumbles to the floor at my feet. I stare at it. I stare at it so I won't have to meet his eyes, so I won't have to speak, so I can try to go as unnoticed as always. I'm comfortable with just passing through, going by without getting a second glance, being yet another wallflower. But with him, I just can't make myself small enough.

He crouches. He picks up the dumb book. I stay a statue in a crowed high school hallway. Maybe I'll be frozen here forever, a girl turned to stone. Maybe, years from now, kids will walk by and wonder what the h*** happened to me. I'm wondering the same thing myself.

He stands. He tucks Physics 11 into my locker, something I pathetically failed to do. I've never had a good hold on physics. It figures. And now I'm stuck here, glancing up at him from underneath the darkness of my lashes. They obscure my view so I only see bits and pieces of him. Dark hair; strong jaw; freckle just above the collar of his T-shirt. The shirt is blue like his eyes. I noticed this in homeroom.

He looks. He looks right at me. My heart is transformed into a hummingbird. He smiles, asks for a hug. I fit pretty d*** well in those big arms of his. He's a puzzle piece I never realized I was missing. He smells like rainstorms, and God, do I ever love rainstorms. I nestle into the hollow of his shoulder for a split second before following routine and pushing him away. Old habits die hard.

He sighs. Sighs like I'm letting him down. If there's anything I hate about him, it's that sigh. It makes me feel as if I'm ripping him apart, painfully slow, excruciating. He'd never say that though. He thinks the world of me. I think I should step off the edge.

He speaks: You know, you have to talk to me sometime. Deep voice, thick like whipping cream. I smile just a little. He underestimates me. I say: Oh really?, all calm and collected as I stare at daggers into my locker. I'm trying to concentrate on big words instead of him: liquidation, hippopotamus, cardiomyalgia. I reach for a pencil. I could crumble into dust in an instant.

I fumble. The pencil takes it's death plunge from the top shelf to land at his feet. I can't take this. He goes down, rescuing the stub of wood and graphite and pink eraser. I don't bite, he says gently. It's alright. He tucks the pencil behind my ear, grins. I have to get to class, I mumble, glancing down. My cheeks are in flames; the things he does to me. I try to slip away. I'm cut off.

He stares. He traps me with those china blue eyes and a hand on my waist. The heat of his palm burns my skin straight through my sweater. My feet seem to be bolted to the pale green tile. I am exclusively his. Why do you always run away?, he says.

I stare. I'm wondering how I'll word this. Maybe if I say it just right, it'll be enough to keep him interested. Or better yet, it'll be just right to keep him away for good. He makes things terribly complicated and I hate that I'm hurting him. I say: Because I'm good at it.

I turn. I break the dead-lock of our eyes and do what I do best: I take off; I flake out; I run away. As I slide easily through the seal of Room 211, I glance back to locker B102, irrationally expecting to see him waiting for me. He simply isn't there.

I wonder. I wonder if he'll be back at my locker tomorrow, pressing me to utter a few words. I wonder if he's thinking of me, hoping I'll give him the key to get past the mile-high gate I've built between us. I wonder if he's given up on me, just like I wanted. But it isn't such a comfortable thought anymore. It isn't what I wanted after all.

Not one bit.




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